Earth’s origin story: Material provided by Japan’s Hayabusa 2 nearly 4.6 billion years old and could provide insights on the beginning of life on earth
The Japanese have recovered the Hayabusa2 spacecraft which was on its intended trajectory to deliver capsule samples from distant asteroid Ryugu. The samples which have been collected by the spacecraft are expected to contribute on topics like the origin of life and the formation of the universe. Now, the spacecraft is expected to work on an extended mission of targeting two new asteroids. It will be moving towards its first target, 1998 KY26, which is a ball shaped asteroid, with a diameter of 30 metres.
Hayabusa2 to reveal earth’s origin story
As per a tweet, at 01:57 JST, the spacecraft entered the Earth’s shadow. Another tweet revealed that the speed of the aircraft will tend to increase after 02:30, reaching a maximum of about 11.7 km/s. As the spacecraft came closer, members in the control room were increased. The official Twitter handle also shared images of the control room.
During the important mission, the Hayabusa2 department wrote that they were connected to the DSN and the United States. The tweet read, “Project Manager Tsuda informed the DSN that the capsule separation was successful and received their congratulations”. The Desert fireball network made an observation of the capsule’s re-entry over South Australia. According to the official website, the network, along with Kochi University of Technology (KUT) and their partners at Nihon University and Ibaraki University, are deploying ‘a large array of over 50 instruments to capture the effects of this exceptional phenomenon’.
Hayabusa2 reached the Ryugu asteroid in June 2018 and descended on the asteroid’s surface in February 2019. It then fired a small projectile into the ground and scooping surface material into a container. The spacecraft then fired an impactor into the asteroid from a distance, thereby forming a small crater in April 2019. In July 2019, it swooped down again to grab material ejected by the impact. Hayabusa2 finally left its orbit around the asteroid in November 2019 to begin its return journey.
(Image credits: global.jaxa.jp)
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